The keenly-fought elections to the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation (GMC) ended in a tie Tuesday with both main political parties – the Congress and the BJP – winning 16 seats each out of the total 32 seats of the civic body. Now, the election of Mayor and other GMC office-bearers will be be done through draw of lots in a meeting to be convened by the Municipal Commissioner sometime next week. In the previous election of the GMC in 2011, which then had total 33 seats, Congress had won 18 and the BJP 15. However, Congress Mayor Mahendrasinh Rana had, along with two other members, defected to the BJP. With this defection, the BJP had wrested power of the corporation and governed it for the rest of the term.
This year, following the 50 per cent women’s reservation policy for local institutions of self-governance, introduced by the Anandiben government, the State Election Commission (SEC) delimited wards and reduced it from 11 to eight, with each ward having four members.
This year, the BJP has improved its original tally of 2011. However, one of the highlighting points of the results was the defeat of Rana from Ward No. 3. Out of the four seats of Ward No 3, the BJP lost the only seat from where Rana was contesting. The results seem to be a relief for the BJP which was fearing an electoral setback owing to the ongoing reservaton stir by Patidars, considered to be the backbone of its vote bank. The Patidar stir does not seem to have any major impact on the election results of the civic body. Out of 32 seats, seven seats have been won by Patidar candidates — four of them are from the BJP and three from the Congress. Since the election has ended in a tie, Mayor and other office-bearers for the GMC are expected to be chosen through a lottery system at a meeting to be presided over by the outgoing Mayor. A senior officer of GMC said, “Under the provisions of the Gujarat Provincial Municipal Corporation Act, the Commissioner has to call a meeting of the elected members as early as possible, preferably within a week’s time. In the meeting, first office-bearers like Mayor will be elected through votes by raising hands. In case of a tie therein, a draw of chits can be held to choose a candidate for the post.”
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As per the rotation policy announced by the Urban Development Department for various categories of candidates to be chosen as Mayor of the GMC, this time it’s the turn of a male candidate from the open category. CM Anandiben Patel welcomed the result and tweeted, “It is the hard work & perseverance of our karyakartas that has led to the increase in BJP tally. Congratulations to all winning candidates!”
Gujarat BJP president Vijay Rupani welcomed the GMC election results, stating that the party’s support base in urban areas was intact. “We welcome the verdict of the people of Gandhinagar. Our support is intact in the GMC as in the last elections Congress had won 18 seats, but we have managed to contain them on 16 seats despite the adverse situation,” Rupani said.
Similarly, Congress also seemed upbeat with the GMC results. “We accept the verdict of the people of Gandhinagar. A tie is recorded in the urban area, which is generally considered to be the stronghold of the BJP.”